In Vienna this is a bit of an understatement, for it is always the season for something here, be it food or a social activity. At the moment, “Ganslzeit,” the weeks surrounding St. Martin’s Day (and the season for roast goose) seems to be winding down; and the completely arbitrary outdoor dining period for (most) restaurants has ended, as well.
Now it’s all busy city sidewalks, dressing in holiday style. The royal and imperial bakery, Demel, is currently displaying a sweet version of St. Nicolas and Krampus just ahead of St. Nicolas Day early next month.
Swarovski has the winter season covered in sparkling snow, and crews are decking lanes across the city.
This past Saturday the “official” start of the Advent and Christmas market season began with the lighting of the Christmas tree at Vienna’s largest market, the Wiener Christkindlmarkt. This market is best enjoyed from a distance, unless one is into mostly mass-produced products and spirit-crushing crowds hovering in front of the Punsch und Glühwein huts.
We wandered through a lane or so, mostly moving with the sway of visitors. Though, I did manage to catch a glimpse of Holy Family snow globes should you be in need of gift ideas.
And speaking of commercialism, nothing says, “Frohe Weihnachten” more than mass-produced tortes at a “traditional” Viennese cafe across from the market who, it would seem, has sold its soul to Emirates Air.
Thankfully nearby are markets that invoke old world holiday spirit. This is the market at Am Hof, small and with mostly independent artisans offering handmade just about everything to please just about everyone on your holiday list.
Though, this market, too, has embraced a little bit of modernity.
On Sunday afternoon we were out and about and came across the “K.u.K. Weihnachtsmarkt” (Royal and Imperial Christmas market) in the square of Hofburg Palace. Perhaps it is new only to us, but the little white huts adorned with twinkle lights, and sitting amongst the fiakers seemed magical, even without snow.
A vendor with Swiss and French cheeses! Oh, my!
Alas. Commercialism has made inroads into this pretty little market, too.
But there is no despair. While there may be no escaping the commercialism, the holiday market season really is the most wonderful time of the year.